27 October 2010

Stomach-Aches and Heart-aches

My daughter J. is in her first year of Middle School, a year bound to be filled with new experiences, friends, and fun. And J. is one of those kids who will have her hand in everything: sports, clubs, groups, and associations. She will participate fully in Spirit Days, go to all the dances, and ask to go to school early to hang out with her friends before class. She has already discovered texting (though not to the degree that my high-schooler has) and at times spends way too long talking about nothing on the phone. These pre-teen and teenage years are going to be full of excitement. I'm already looking forward to shopping for Homecoming dresses and watching volleyball games. It will be fun.

But today J. came home early from school complaining of a headache and stomach-ache. She seemed a bit teary and emotional, and I thought she really wasn't feeling well. Then she got home, and asked for Doritos. She wanted to play on the computer. She seemed...well, fine. She spent the afternoon lying on the couch watching TV, but only because I insisted. She missed gymnastics, though I'm pretty sure she could have gone and would have been fine.

Is it possible she had just a touch of something that came and went? Sure, it is. I had something similar earlier this week. She could have just been sick, or had digestive problems, or whatever. But it got me thinking, for sure. It also could have been something else.

I remember those days. I remember not wanting to go to school because of the boy who didn't like me back, or the mean girl who made fun of my clothes, or because of the huge pimple on my chin. I remember feeling nauseous because of the teacher that seemed to hate me or because I think I wore the wrong socks with my outfit. Let's face it: adolescence is hell.

The funny thing is, it's also heaven. Both, all rolled into one.

Laughter, and tears. Fun, and heartbreak. Friendship, and fights. Love, and hate. It's not easy, growing up.

J. will get through it, and I know she's going to be just fine. Stomach-aches, heart-aches, and all.

25 October 2010

What I Am

I used to define myself as a writer. It's what I was most proud of. It's what most made me feel like I had something to offer the world. I was a writer. I didn't actually qualify for the title. I had hundreds of readers on a blog that I posted to almost daily. But I had never been published. I had never been paid for my work. I was just a girl who loved to write and that other people seemed to enjoy reading.

And then some stuff happened in my life. I got a job. My angel boy turned into a teenager. My sister died. Stuff happened. And suddenly, I couldn't write anymore. I'm not saying I just had a bit of writer's block. I'm saying, I could not write. I wanted to. I would sit down with my computer in my lap and put my fingers on the keyboard. I would have my cup of milky sweet Earl Grey next to me as always. I would take a deep breath and start to type. But nothing would happen. I would write a sentence and I would delete it. I would have a thought in my head that I couldn't put words to. I would write a whole post and realize it was crap. I could not write.

Life went on, as it always does. I continued to work. I learned (kinda) how to live with a teenager. It's been almost two years of living without my sister. I made new friends and lost others. I laughed and I cried. I said I was sorry when I made mistakes and I asked for apologies from people who had wronged me. I participated in a nine-month leadership course that helped me to define myself for what I really am. I lived my life, and I was still me, even without writing. Life went on.

Now, my life is changing again. My husband D. is away on a year-long deployment and I'm a pseudo-single mom again. Life is busier, and full of stress, but I'm more determined than ever to take care of myself and to be realistic about who I am. I no longer define myself as a writer, but I do know that I love to write. I love to impact others with the words I can put together. It brings me joy and satisfaction. It makes me feel more like me when I'm writing.

I won't pretend that I don't care what you think. I write for me, but I also write for you. I want you to be impacted. I want you to comment and agree, or disagree, with me. I want to write words that make you think. I want you to tell your friends. But regardless, I will still write. Not because I'm a writer, but because I'm me. And because I know that writing is a small part of what makes me, me.